In a strange turn of events for the Buffalo Sabres, the team has announced that forward Patrik Berglund has been suspended indefinitely for “failure to report to the team”. Berglund has missed the past two games for the Sabres with what the team reported as a sickness, but which now seems like something else entirely. Few details have emerged yet about this bizarre situation.
Berglund, 30, is in his first season with the Sabres after being traded away by the St. Louis Blues this off-season as part of the Ryan O’Reilly return. While Berglund began the season as Buffalo’s second-line center and was reportedly looking forward to mentoring the teams many young Swedish players, things haven’t played out so nicely for the veteran pivot. Berglund has spent the majority of the early season skating in the bottom-six and has just four points in 23 games, by far the worst scoring rate of his career. Berglund missed five games due to injury in the first two months of the season, but was also twice tabbed as a healthy scratch. Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that Berglund did not take too kindly to being benched. Harrington adds that Berglund has also been very closed off with the media during his time in Buffalo, in retrospect probably a reflection of his frustration with his current situation.
Interestingly, Berglund’s alleged abandonment of the team comes without even a whisper of trade demands. Of course, those talks will now begin, regardless of whether or not there is a resolution to the present situation. Berglund is clearly unhappy with the Sabres and the team has sent a clear message that his behavior will not be tolerated. A change of scenery seems necessary and the sooner the better. Berglund is in the second season of a five-year contract signed in St. Louis. The deal carries a $3.85MM cap hit, slightly steep and lengthy for his current level of play, and a limited No-Trade Clause with a 20-team no-trade list, although Berglund is unlikely to decline any move out of Buffalo. The veteran forward is capable of putting up 30+ points per season and brings size and net front presence. He can also line up at all three forward positions and is familiar with both special teams assignments. With that said, Berglund’s current stunt – albeit without all the details yet known – on top of his poor production and unfriendly contract is not going to help his trade stock whatsoever. Hopefully the two sides come to terms on a solution to this situation sooner rather than later.